Another litter prevention/clean up group emerging can only be good news for those wishing to live in a clean World at the earliest possible hour.
So it was interesting to attend Clean Europe Network’s STOP LITTER NOW! Summit at the Hotel Bloom in Brussels on the 9th and 10th of December.
The CEN was launched in March 2013 with funding support from the European Commission and the EU Life+ programme and hopes to add real value at the European Union level.
Working alongside all manner of established litter organisations its creation of ‘Clean Europe Week’ in May of 2015 hopes to demonstrate the added power and resources that European Union involvement can bring to an ever growing peaceful yet effective army of ‘litter management recruits’.
So with around 120 participants from organisations such as Keep Britain/Denmark/Sweden/Wales Tidy, plus other representatives from Ireland, Holland, France, Estonia and more, we sat around 18 circular tables, listened to about twenty three speakers who all kept their speeches mostly under twenty minutes. Short, informative and interesting.
We heard from the ‘Tidy’ groups, the waste prevention groups, to teaching groups, to litter monitoring groups. We heard from packaging companies, from litter clearing entrepreneurs, from environmentally conscious companies and to the unenviable job of some of the leading fast food/drinks companies whose final products lay waste on our lands and in our waterways-chucked to their temporary graves by a percentage of the European Union’s population.
We had a keynote speech from Marius Smit, founder of the Plastic Whale Fishing Company who prides himself on becoming the first professional plastic fisherman! Gaining amazing support from leading businesses, Marius manages to grow his company by literally fishing the plastic out of Holland’s waterways…and then he makes boats out of the plastic. Yes he does!
Tom Domen gave a great account of cleaning products company Ecover, again fishing out plastic from our waterways to create ‘Ocean Bottle’, a living example of reuse, washing up liquid bottles made from waste plastic for use at our sinks at home. Recycling right in our faces!
Karl Falkenberg, who heads the European Commission’s directorate general for the Environment gave a great speech whilst we ate from a buffet dinner. Karl is a keen cyclist, and every year cycles to the next Green City on Europe’s list. This year it was Copenhagen, next year it’s Bristol in the UK. The good thing about Karl being a keen cyclist is that he has seen the litter problem on Europe’s roads-up close. And he is not happy about it.
So, with Derek Robertson from Keep Scotland Tidy as the President of The Clean Europe Network I am pretty sure that we will see very good things coming from its creation.
If you are interested, please do look at the Clean Europe Network’ website (www.cleaneuropenetwork.eu) where you’ll find a clear write-up of all the speakers and topics brought up at the conference.
I may not write the best write ups but I bring with me a damn good skill set besides, that of a good litter picker. “Let’s clean up Europe”.